Hello, fellow bloggers! I'm Destiny and I blog over at A Little Serendipity. I've only had the blog up since late November and so I'm fairly new to the blogosphere. I am wanting to grow my blog and have been trying to think of ways to get my blog "out there". I keep setting small goals to reach and when I reach them my goal changes- currently my goal is 100 likes on the blog Facebook page (I have 35... it's a slow process). I've considered offering a give-a-way to help hopefully motivate people to share the blog page with their friends (like 100 likes and Im giving away a gift card or something) but I cringe thinking about that because I worry that it will take away from my content and I'll end up with people who dont even read the blog but just stick around for free stuff.

 

So, my question, is - giveaways? To do or not to do? What are some clever ways that you work to get your blog "out there"?

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Personally, I don't really like giveaways that are only seeking to gain likes or new followers. People like free stuff. Chances are your numbers will grow, but your audience won't. A lot of people will "Like" your FB Page just to enter the contest, without ever clicking links through to your blog. 

That said, giveaways can be a really fun thing if you have realistic goals behind them. I've been working with brands and marketing teams for too long, so I don't have much advice to give personal bloggers about this. But I think that the best way to grow your audience is to be active within a community (such as 20SB -- shameless plug -- or even some relevant Google+ communities). Get involved in Twitter chats that pique your interest. You'll be surprised how quickly your audience grows once you put effort into building relationships.

Might I also suggest checking out guest blogging opportunities. It's a good way to introduce yourself to a brand new audience.

Thanks, Jennifer! That is actually really great advice! I kind of worried about what you said with my numbers growing but them not really reading or caring about the blog! NOT what I want!

This is a personal thing, but I actually don't like contests where you have to like someone's FB page. I only am a "fan" of a few things on FB, and I think that if I'm already following you in my Reader/bloglovin/etc and commenting on your posts, that should be enough. If a giveaway requires me to like anything on FB, I just don't enter it.

Another thing that may just be me, but I don't follow blogs just because they are having a giveaway, either. Most of the blogs I follow are recommended to me, or are linked to from another blogger I enjoy and whose opinion I appreciate. I can't say I've ever come across a giveaway on a blog I've never read before, and been like "oh, cool, I think I'm going to keep tabs on this one".

That being said, I think you have a reasonable goal, and if you want to do a giveaway, I think that's fair too! I don't think having a giveaway every once in awhile will detract from your blog content.

Thanks, Cindie. I hadn't thought about that point you made about people not following just because of giveaways. I dont really follor or even participate in giveaways on other peoples blogs honestly but it seems like alot of bigger blogs do them ALL THE TIME so I wasnt sure if it was something I should be doing or not!

This is a tricky subject, IMO.

For advertising, I personally prefer ad swapping versus monetary payments (where you each share each other's button on your blog for a discussed period of time).  My blog is a fun hobby, and I love it, but it's not my business and I just don't have a lot of money to spend on it.

As far as giveaways, I like them but not ALL THE TIME.  And it's incredibly rare that I follow a blog just for a giveaway.  It has to be content that is still relevant & interesting to me.  But it's really annoying when I have to like a bunch of blogs AND Facebook pages- very rarely is whatever item worth the frustration of having all of that "forced" into all these different aspects of my life. 

I tried a blog swap and really liked that! I agree about not really wanting to put alot of money into my blog. I've asked around and alot of blogs I considered "sponsoring" were like $30 a month and that just seems a lil much, especially if I wanted to do more than one.

I did the whole giveaway/adverting thing in the past on my previous blog and while it was fun while it lasted, it was also time-consuming and tedious.

With that said, on Giveaways, required entries of following someone on FB or Twitter when I'm already following their blog is quite a turn off.

There's going to be people who will stick out the time frame for the giveaway and then drop you like a hot potato. 

While Sponsoring/Giveaways are nice and all, I come to your blog to read about you, not about the 40 or so people on your sidebar.

I have to agree, this may make me seem like a terrible blogger (or at least, a terrible one considering that I'm trying to get more into the community-building aspect!), but I rarely look at sidebars. If the buttons on the sidebar are already below the About Me, the "Follow Me Elsewhere" section, the search bar, the archives, the calendar...well, I just sort of pay attention to the content at that point, and don't scroll further for the sidebar's sake. I'm much more likely to find other blogs through direct links in a post on a blog I enjoy, or if I find a thoughtful comment where someone has provided their website to click on too.

Well that is what I did wrong!! I just hosted a giveaway yesterday, thanking my readers for increased views in the month of December since they were more than double. The way to gain an entry in my giveaway? Like my FB page haha. I too wanted to grow my blog FB page and I did get about 9 more likes but I did feel like I was "buying" likes and I want people to like my blog for actually liking my content, not just because I give them a gift card. 

It really didn't have the turn out I expected so I need a new plan if I do a giveaway again. I guess the main idea is, gimmick free giveaways? Just leave a comment and thats it? I am so lost at increasing viewership and thought free stuff was the way but it seems not. 

Honestly, my blog started being more "out there" once I got on to more social media sites. I set up a facebook, twitter, instagram and pinterest for my blog. That was a great start. Then every time I posted something new not only would I use my social media to spread it, but I also would post it to sites like Stumble Upon, Reddit, Digg, etc. This seemed to help a lot. 

Also, tagging my posts helps. Especially if I was commenting on a popular topic. A post with good tags and a popular topic will come up often when people use search engines.

Good luck!

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